I’ve always been pretty open on here about my mental health. And I’m sharing this story now to remind you:
You are not alone.
Medication is there for a reason.
Please seek help if you need it.
To get any newcomers up to speed, as is the way for many of us, my mental health journey has been a bumbling dance of ups, downs, side steps, slow burns and furious flurry’s.
Much like a dance, at times there’s been rhythm and flow. And other times (many times), it’s been a hideous unsyncopated shitshow.
Looking back, I’ve always been prone to anxiety, and it’s old mates panic and paranoia. It’s part genetic, and probably part personality (hooray!). I remember nearly hyperventilating as a teenager and sobbing into Mums arms for hours when I heard that Nostradamus predicted the end of the world in the year 2000.
The catastrophic thinking spans years. If people were late, it automatically meant they’d died in a terrible accident. If someone didn’t say hello in the classroom, the entire grade hated me. If a boyfriend didn’t text me back in a prompt manner, he was definitely cheating on me. And if one show didn’t sell well, it meant my entire career was doomed and I was utterly talentless and should pursue a career in…well, something that better suited my neurotic personality.
And so on and so forth and GOOD TIMES.
I’ve always thought these kinds of thought spirals were normal. And I guess for some of us they really are?
It wasn’t until I met Zac (who, for the record, is generally pretty calm and steady) that I began to realise that these anxious feelings – which truly, I’d come to just accept as ‘Me’ – were possibly outside the realms of normal. I’d try and describe to him the incessant chatter in my mind, and the feeling of waking up each day with this sense of urgent dread, or these feelings of panic that would bowl me over and literally knock me to my knees…and I’d say ‘but don’t you get that? Isn’t that just how EVERYONE feels?’
And he’d look at me perplexed, scratch his (annoyingly steady) head, and say ‘nope’.
It all came to a head when I was about 9 months post-partum. I’d been touring (since Archie was 8 weeks old), working, moving house etc etc…and shit got pretty real. My recurring thought was ‘what if I harm myself enough not to die…but to just go to hospital for a few weeks so I can make all of this just stop’. The noise. The work. The lack of sleep.
I now recognise it as severe sleep deprivation and subsequent post-natal depression, but it got bad. Scarily bad.
I tried psychology. I tried meditation. I tried green juices and champagne and cocaine and colonics and probiotics and Vitamin D….possibly all at once.
But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t make it stop. It made everything so much harder than what it needed to be.
I came back from our honeymoon in 2019, booked myself into my local long-time Doctor, and got a prescription for antidepressants, and finally – after 26 odd year of constant inner- noise…there was silence.
This story doesn’t end here. In fact, in some ways it’s where it begins. Because it was here – at this juncture of silence and clarity – that I was actually able to start doing the work. From the inside out.
The past two years have been quite the quest for wellness.
I saw an integrative GP who diagnosed me with Pyrroles disease (chronically low Zinc and B Vitamins) which is a huge contributor to anxiety and depression. Alongside the anti-d’s, I was put on a protocol of zinc and magnesium and Vitamin D, to help balance my biochemistry.
I got to the bottom of my (long-term) gut issues (SIBO), my hormonal imbalances, my skin issues. I’ve spent the last 5 months basically off the booze (save for the odd glass here and there and admittedly, a delicious bottle of Mumm champagne in Darwin). I’ve eliminated everything from inflammatory foods to histamine liberating foods to FODMAP foods. I’ve fasted, drunk herbs, meditated, journalled, pulled Oracle bloody cards), had abdominal massages, and done everything in my power to try and heal my body of all the environmental, generational, emotional, toxic, traumatic energy that has found a home within my body.
I talked to my gut. I written letters to my inner child. I’ve forgiven myself for all of the toxic (and some quite frankly illegal) substances I popped, drunk, snorted. I’ve made peace with my personality, accepted my story, and faced my shit (sometimes, quite literally) head on.
And then in July, I began weaning off my medication. And I was able to do this because of all this work I did…when I was supported by the medication. I’ve been off it now for nearly two months, and I feel – for the most part – pretty damn great,
Here’s what I know to be true. Some of us experience things – grief, trauma, hardship, loss, sadness, lockdowns – that the human mind and body really ought to not have to deal with. My threshold might be different to your threshold, and NONE of us have the right to judge the other.
Medication wasn’t a long term solution for me. I’m far more of the natural persuasion than the medical persuasion. But it’s all about balance, right? And by god, if I even begin to go down that slippery slope again, I’ll be getting that support as I need it.
It’s not weak.
It’s not a cop out.
It doesn’t have to be a last resort.
It can save lives. And it can help you take the steps that empower you to save your own life,
Today, I implore you to ask yourself if you really are ok. Are you coping?